SPFBO7 Self-published Fantasy Blog-Off Entries 2021

Entries into Mark Lawrence's Self-published Fantasy Blog-off in 2021 (the 7th year of the contest).

https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-official-self-published-fantasy.html


Greed by Tim Beeden

SPFBO7

When Gregory Hoffenbach unearths a valuable stone while ploughing, he believes it could put an end to all his woes. It doesn't. In fact it's just the beginning. Greg heads into the city of Calver with his brother Ralph to try and sell the stone but soon they discover that there are plenty of people in the Kingdom who'd like to own Greg's red stone. Over the next few days, the brothers strike a deal with a prominent crime boss, stumble into a plot to overthrow the King and have a hand in the death of an over-ambitious hay salesman. Fortunately for them, they've got help. Some very useful and very violent help. It seems everyone wants Greg's stone and they'll stop at nothing to get it. Greg? He just wants a new plough. A story about working out what's valuable in life and then trying to take it from someone else.


Sword of the Scarred by Jeffrey Hall

SPFBO7

The price of becoming a legend is more than most are willing to pay. Requiem Balestone is the last of the Scarred, a group of warriors with tremendous power that when wielded leaves cruel wounds upon their skin. After a lifetime of battling monsters, he’s gathered enough scars to become a ruined version of his former self. But before he can lay down his blade, one last mission calls him to battle. A mission that pulls him into the middle of a civil war that threatens to destroy the world. And as both sides close in around him, and a mysterious evil begins to stalk the land, Requiem must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice the rest of himself to become the savior of the realm, or walk away from it for good.


A Time of Ashes by Ru Pringle

SPFBO7

IN THE YEARS BEFORE THE CORRUPTION CAME, Murrin Kentle lived in a world where the largest island could be walked across in a day, and humans traded and fished in bladeships made from the bones of the gigantic and bizarre sea monsters patrolling its stormy, bottomless oceans. As a truthkeep of the Brotherhood of the First Mind, it’s been his duty to fight the decay of knowledge with religious fervour. A fervour he has increasingly struggled to maintain. Before the Corruption came, Sheehan hahe Seeheeli was a carefree countess of the Shi’iin. Amphibious and fiercely matriarchal, her people have maintained an uneasy coexistence with the human scholars dominating the islands. Then an emissary of the gods brings news of an impending catastrophe. Now, she and Murrin must embark on a desperate voyage in the hope of salvation, although both the subject of their search and the path they must take remain stubbornly obscure. Before the Corruption came, a wild young man named Coll grew up in a desert town, consumed by rage over what was done to his mother. His thirst for retribution will set in motion a train of events not even the gods could fully have foretold. NOW THE CORRUPTION IS HERE, and nothing in Murrin's world, nor any of the worlds of the Sundered Realm, will ever be the same. By turns touching, humorous, tense and horrific, A Time of Ashes is a thrilling and wildly imaginative tale of existential discovery: the first part of Fate and the Wheel, a beautifully written epic tale of friendship, loss, revenge, war, and survival against crushing odds.


Ryswyck by L.D. Inman

SPFBO7

In a world still scarred two centuries after a nuclear holocaust, a military academy in an embattled nation has been turning out brilliant officers whose skill in fighting is exceeded only by their devotion to the law of courtesy. Then two of its elite students uncover a secret that has haunted its founder for twenty years. As the building scandal threatens Ryswyck Academy, their friendship becomes an indispensable grace for their community and the linchpin of a perilous solution to their country’s desperate struggle. Lieutenant Stephanie Speir has just won a place in Ryswyck’s junior officer cadre. Her buoyant, balanced joy in combat is shadowed by the illness of her father, a retired intelligence officer and former prisoner of war. In the single-combat arena she faces Lieutenant Walter Douglas, the youngest son of a rural family, and they kindle an unshakable friendship. That friendship becomes their anchor when a security breach reveals to them the dark secret behind General Barklay’s drive to found Ryswyck Academy. Already troubled by Ryswyck’s isolated culture and the problems of translating the ideal of courtesy to modern warfare, Douglas becomes profoundly disturbed by the revelations of Barklay’s past participation in a heinous act. His only confidant is Speir, who up till this moment had been shielded from the details of her father’s experiences as a prisoner in Berenian hands. Barklay’s secret sets Ryswyck’s loving ethos against the context of a brutal war with Ilona’s enemy across the strait, a contrast that only grows starker as the two friends take commissions at an inhospitable island base. Soon Speir and Douglas find themselves drawn not only into the looming threat of scandal, but into the overwhelming prospect of battle, which will put their skill, their courtesy, and their friendship to the ultimate test.


The Trials of the Core by Michael E. Thies

SPFBO7

Destiny calls to them all. Only one can seize it… Prince Hydro Paen longs to escape his disdainful mother. So when the Guardian of the Core announces a contest to become his apprentice, the young man leaps at the invitation to participate. Determined to prove himself and uphold the family legacy, he swears not to fail. Orphaned at a young age, Eirek Mourse doesn’t believe he’ll amount to much, so when an invitation to participate in the Trials arrives, he doesn't know what to do. Under the encouragement and advice of his uncle, he enters. But without any skills in combat, he has no idea how he will survive. Zain Berrese is a haunted man. Convinced he’s responsible for the death of his girlfriend, he longs to make amends by becoming the next Guardian. Hoping to outdo his adopted brother, who is also accepted, he makes a decision that accidentally kills his sibling just before the Trials begin, crushing his spirit. With trials increasingly complex and dangerous, each contestant must face his or her own fears as well as their crafty opponents. And with lives on the line, one of them will make an extraordinary choice… Will one of these would-be heroes find the inner strength and wisdom to emerge a champion before they all perish? The Trials of the Core is the first book in the gripping Guardian of the Core adventure fantasy series. If you like ensemble casts, imaginative worlds, and unpredictable twists, then you’ll love Michael E. Thies’s thrilling tale.


The Deathless Ones by Niranjan

SPFBO7

Will they remain as pawns or take their destiny into their own hands? In the world of Terrin, the Elementals are worshipped, but in the war torn continent of Atoth, in the ruins of an old Empire, the warlord Semil plots to imprison them. All that is missing for success is two people who cannot die. Madh and Sadjah have hidden themselves for as long as they can remember. Their inability to die makes those with power hungry gazes want them. When Madh is discovered by the Elementals, everything changes. Truths have to be faced, and they cannot remain aloof from the world any longer. Trapped in a besieged city with Semil's armies at the gates, and the tentative alliance between the other three warlords the only thing protecting them, Madh and Sadjah realise that even the Elementals have their own agendas. Their only way out is an impossible choice, one that would change the world of Terrin for good and leave it more vulnerable than ever. Sometimes, even a choice is a sacrifice.


To the North by Evan L. Grove

SPFBO7

Emily Lee wants nothing more than to live her life in peace, safe in the comfort of home with her father. But when he falls prey to dark magic, trapping him and countless others in a foreign land, she is forced to take action. Compelled only by the desire to save him, Emily travels to the northern nation of Odelia in search of a means to free her father from his terrible curse. Lehksi Olent works as a private investigator, helping those uncover the truth that is often shrouded by a world of magic and mystery. Together with her brother, Marty, she now travels the Odelian countryside in pursuit of the growing unrest taking place within the heart of a country torn asunder by unseen forces. When their paths converge, Emily and Lehksi’s lives will be forever changed. Two paths, one future. Be it for the good of all, or for a singular desire, the fate of Odelia lies within their choices. And should they prove lacking, the world of Oul might never be the same. To the North is the first novel in The Awakener Duology, an urban fantasy that explores what it means to discover the dark truths of an unforgiving land. It takes place in an alternate reality set in a pre-digital world, one that is governed by magic and corporate influence. Two young women must navigate numerous challenges in order to protect what is important to them, but in doing so they will make discoveries that may drive a wedge between them.


Oathbreaker by A.J. Rettger ✓ author

SPFBO7

For thousands of years, elves and non-humans alike had lived freely until humans colonized their land and forced them into hiding and subjugation. After years of living as slaves or second-class citizens, the elves rebelled, but their uprising failed, and humans remained victorious. Mario Deschamps, a new graduate of the Knight’s College, sets off to complete his first deed, an accomplishment that will grant him knighthood and into the ordo equestris. But he has huge boots to fill. His late father, a famous knight and considered the Scourge of Bandits, single-handedly ended the Elven Uprising. Mario’s youthful confidence, vanity, and naivety don’t get him far in the real world, and he quickly finds himself trapped in a political climate where tensions are on the rise and war is inevitable. In a world filled with monsters, outlaws, bounty hunters, demons, and murderous bandits, Mario is forced to make tough moral decisions. In a world fuelled by violence, hate, and bigotry, things are not as clear cut as he once thought. Lines have been drawn, but to complete his task, he must cross them all. With every choice, the consequences weigh greatly on him, leaving him full of guilt and doubting his path . . . and all the while, in the darkness, someone—or something—is waiting for him to break . . .. A.J. Rettger weaves an epic tale of politics and prejudice, war and depravity, and legacy and destiny in his action-packed debut fantasy Oathbreaker.


Hooded by A. A. Woods

SPFBO7

Hated. Hunted. Hooded. In a land of myths and monsters, 17-year-old Carlette is a slave. Her power of enhabitation, the ability to control animals, makes her useful to the island’s colonial rulers. Convinced she’s on the right side, she spends her life doing their bidding, awaiting the day she gets to leave it all behind and fulfill her purpose in their war across the sea. But when an escaped spy forces her to leave the safety of the road, Carlette is plunged into the wilderness with a handsome enemy by her side, rebels at her back, and only her wits to guide her. Among the giant trees of the magical forest, Carlette will begin to realize her world is much more complicated than she’s been led to believe. Will she learn to see through the lies she was raised on? Will she have the courage to choose heart over duty? And will she do it fast enough to save everyone she loves? For fans of Princess Mononoke and Six of Crows, this dark fantasy is Little Red Riding Hood as you’ve never seen it before.


Subversive (Clandestine Magic #1) by Colleen Cowley

SPFBO7

A wizard. An unwilling assistant. An explosive secret. In an America controlled by wizards and 100 years behind on women's rights, Beatrix Harper counts herself among the resistance—the Women's League for the Prohibition of Magic. Then Peter Blackwell, the only wizard her town has ever produced, unexpectedly returns home and presses her into service as his assistant. Beatrix fears he wants to undermine the League. His real purpose is far more dangerous for them both. Subversive is the first novel in the completed Clandestine Magic trilogy, set in a warped 21st century that will appeal to fans of gaslamp fantasy, strong female characters, slow-burn romance and intrigue.


Stranger Back Home by E.L. Haines

SPFBO7

One day, your father is a renowned diplomat. The next day, he's an infamous terrorist. When Sparrow is summoned to the reading of his father's last will and testament, the most he hoped for was a minor bequest. Instead, he inherited suspicion and accusations from the Empire that his father helped unite. Locked away in a vault are the secrets that will reveal Xavier DuMont's mysterious past and shine a light on Sparrow's future. Perhaps even the future of the entire realm. Of course, these secrets won't be obtained easily. Especially when everyone in this magical world seems so casually racist. Social dynamics in this world were already pretty strange. Somehow, Sparrow makes everything stranger.


The Inner Lands: Something Stirs by A.J. Austin

SPFBO7

For centuries, the mountainous borders of the Inner Lands had kept the monstrous Grinth at bay, and people had finally found peace. But their complacency would be their undoing, for everything was about to change. As their world falls apart around them, an unlikely bond between a young girl, beaten by her father, and a conflicted warrior, haunted by his tragic past, could well seal the fate of all humanity. As they fight for their survival, a final battle looms. But before they can stand a chance against the Grinth, they'll first have to conquer their own pasts. Will friendship and strength prevail? Or will the cunning and cruelty of evil twist the world into turmoil? Nothing is certain in the Inner Lands. When Fallor called a meeting for the entire Hillock village, little did Sill know that it was just the beginning in a series of events that would reshape everything she knew about their small world. The banishing of her abusive father frees her to embark on a journey of her own. One in which she encounters incredible natural wonders like the Moonmirror Peak, mysterious people like Draneth the shaman and his hawk Tamarellin, strange men with stranger eyes; and the mighty Rydan Fort, built into the side of a mountain. It could have been the adventure of her dreams, were it not for the monstrous creatures that pursue her all the way; bringing death, destruction and tragedy to everything and everyone she grows to cherish. The power she kept a secret for so long is too much for her young mind to handle but she'll have to learn how to wield it, and quickly, if she's to survive in this harsh new world.


SkyView: Lord of The Wills by M. Sheehan

SPFBO7

Seven-Centuries, Seven-Heirs. If one holds the world's knowledge, then one can shape its reality. A unique perspective on history and time, SkyView draws readers into a seven-hundred-year struggle between good and evil. Eight family lines are on a quest to discover and control the family's centuries-old accumulation of wealth. William Ward, the twenty-first century heir to this wealth, is tasked with destroying the leader and heir of the evil line and ending the malice that has been thrust upon the world. Guided by his uncle and protected by the six others with claims to the fortune, he embarks on a geographical and historical journey that reveals secrets, manipulations, and unbelievable connections. From the vantage point of SkyView, a jet with an Augmented Reality window and the capacity to digitally project history onto the landscape as it happened, William and his team desperately try to follow the fortune. A brilliant combination of science fiction, historical fiction, action and adventure, and mystery, SkyView is a unique reading experience that will keep readers turning the pages.


The Mist Keeper's Apprentice by E.S. Barrison

SPFBO7

Storytelling was outlawed. Magic had all but vanished. That all changed when the woman in black came to town. Branded with the black stamp at a young age, Brent thought he would end up a vagrant like his father. His craft was telling stories, but the Order had long forbidden any weaving of tales. When Brent sees the woman in black, she leads him into a menagerie of tunnels beneath the earth where his life falls into the nauseating, but beautiful, mist of the dead. He finds friendship in Rho, a young woman who hides her face with a tree branch while roots and vines bow to her every whim. Together, they embark on a journey to explore the world, escape the watchful eyes of the Order, and discover the woman in black's secrets. For thousands of years, the mist and the tunnels were under the sole guardianship of the Council of Mist Keepers. But as new monsters enter the mist, and magic is forced out of the shadows, the Council searches for young blood to join their ranks and Brent's next in line. Content Warning: This book approaches issues of sexism, prejudice, and mental illness, and includes mentions of death, violence/sexual assault, adult language, alcohol use, and psychological abuse/trauma.


Fableman by Brad Carsten

SPFBO7

People say that if Charlie Pratt had a penny for every blunder, he'd fill his pockets and then misplace his trousers. When Charlie tries to learn more about Dalia Addair, the peculiar girl who lives in the haunted manor on the edge of town, he accidentally slots himself into her magical trial—a trial that she has spent her whole life preparing for; he gets a day. But something's wrong; the trial is unleashing monsters that haven't been seen for centuries, and powerful forces are determined to stop them at any cost. Without knowing whom they can trust, Dalia and Charlie must work together to survive, and finish the trials, if they don't strangle each other first. Quirky, fast-paced, and brimming with action, Fableman is a middle-grade fantasy adventure that proves how even the most unlikely of heroes will step forward... when there's a ten-foot troll screaming after him.



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